ISSN (Print): 1568-0266
ISSN (Online): 1873-4294
Volume 18, 32 Issues, 2018
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ISSN (Print): 1568-0266
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Special Issue Submission
Selected Heterocyclic Compounds as Antioxidants. Synthesis and Biological Evaluation, 2014 :14(22); 2462 - 2477
E. Tsolaki, P. Nobelos, A. Geronikaki and E.A. Rekka
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It has been a wonderful experience publishing our research paper with Bentham Science Publishers, who is very prompt and professional in providing excellent services. Due to this very reason, I would like to publish my forthcoming research results in the Bentham Science Publication “Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry”.
S.K Srivastava (The Medicinal Chemistry Department, CSIR-CIMAP, Lucknow (U.P), , India)
Has contributed: QSAR Guided Semi-synthesis and In-Vitro Validation of Anticancer Activity in Ursolic Acid Derivatives
18 Abstract Ahead of Print are available electronically
19 Articles Ahead of Print are available electronically
Infectious diseases, such as endocarditis, chronic skin infections, middle ear infections and sinusitis
are responsible for over 15 million deaths a year . The high mortality rate is due to the widespread
use of antibiotics in humans which cause increased resistance by bacterial strains. Microorganisms can
induce antibiotic resistance by several mechanisms: hydrolysis or chemical modification of the antibiotic
through the production of enzymes, alteration of the antibiotic target site, decrease in membrane
permeability and/or increase active efflux of the antibiotic, and modification of the metabolic pathways
to circumvent the antibiotic effect . Moreover, bacteria in biofilms communicate by means of
molecules, which activate genes responsible for the production of virulence factors (quorum sensing
mechanisms). Current antibiotic therapy is generally effective against free-floating bacteria while it is
often unproductive against pathogens forming biofilms because biofilm colonies can be up to 1000
times more resistant to conventional therapies .
Increasing resistance to antibacterial agents has augmented the need for the development of new drugs and drug delivery
approaches to treat infections [4, 5]. Investigations concerning the development of novel strategies to overcome antibiotic resistance
represent a great challenge for both the academic world and industry since bacterial infections represent a significant issue
that includes several areas such as public health or food contamination [6, 7].
This issue highlights the chemical and pharmacological features of novel compounds to treat antibacterial infections and
recent therapeutic approaches to overcome antibiotic resistance. The papers included in this special issue confirmed the importance
of both well-known natural products with low molecular weight and antimicrobial peptides in the management of chronic
and nosocomial infections. However, natural antimicrobial peptides and polyphenolics derivatives could suffer from chemical
instability, photosensibility, and enzymatic degradation, which hamper their clinical use. Here, to overcome these limitations,
medicinal chemistry approaches, such as chemical modifications, replacement of hydrolysis sensible groups or introduction of
mimetics of natural amino acids, were analyzed and reported. Thus, this special issue collects latest advances in the field of
antibacterial drug discovery and delivery such as the use of natural-based antibiofilm and antimicrobial peptides, naturally occurring
prenyloxyphenylpropanoids, and polyphenolics as suitable clinical tools for the treatment of infections.
The guest editor wishes to thank all the researchers that contributed to this special issue and the anonymous reviewers that,
with their helpful and constructive suggestions and comments, improved the quality of the final version of the papers.
Infectious diseases cause remarkable human suffering, particularly in lowincome
and middle-income countries. Infectious diseases are responsible for
the vast economic burden globally. Efforts are going on to develop effective
and safe therapeutics, however the rapid appearance of drug resistance in human
pathogens, weaken the clinical worth of several current drugs. Therefore,
the discovery of new anti-infectious molecules is highly demanded. This special
issue comprises the up-to-date information on drug development for infectious
diseases. The first contribution presents a review article focused on
small molecules effective against liver and blood stage malarial infection was
contributed by Dr. Singh and her co-workers from Miranda House, University
of Delhi, India. This mini-review article covers library of chemical compounds
effective against blood stage and liver stage malarial infections (i.e.
dual stage activity). The second contribution was received from Prof. Samuel
K. Kwofie and colleagues. This review focuses on the malarial aspartic proteases
known as Plasmepsins (Plms) as novel drug targets and antimalarials
targeting Plms. It further discusses inhibitors of hemoglobin-degrading plasmepsins
Plm I, Plm II, Plm IV and histo-aspartic proteases (HAP), as well as HIV protease inhibitors of plasmepsins. The
group led, Prof. Alo Nag and co-workers from University of Delhi South Campus, India contributed the next review article
about ionophores as potent anti-malarials. This review presents an overview on the state-of-the-art of the relevant literature on
ionophores, and provides insight into the mechanism and prospects of different classes of ionophores as promising antimalarial.
Next, two articles were contributed by Prof. Ramesh Chandra and his team members from University of Delhi North
Campus, India. The biological aspects of heme and its drug interactions with CYP450 have been reviewed. The last
contribution is an research article that presents the designing of a novel indoline scaffold based antibacterial compound and
pharmacological evaluation using chemoinformatics approaches.
We are grateful to all the authors and referees for their valuable support to this special issue.
Research to discover new treatments for infectious disease has developed
as a specialty during the past century. At global level, the burden of the infectious
diseases is growing, particularly in low-income and middle-income
countries, and susceptible populations. Infectious diseases trigger millions of
deaths yearly. Widespread resistance of anti-infectious drugs remains a big
threat, particularly when effective vaccines are not available for most of the
infectious diseases. Subsequently, inventions of new therapeutics effective
against infectious diseases are highly required. This special issue of Current
Topics in Medicinal Chemistry contains the latest updates on molecular
mechanisms, drug targets, drug development for infectious diseases in the
form of high-quality articles from the various parts of the world. The first
contribution presents a review article focused on antibiotics-peptide conjugates
from the research group led by Dr. Rakesh K Tiwari, Chapman University,
USA. This article deals with the advanced information on antibioticspeptide
conjugates (APCs) extensively, as an approach to battle the threat of
multi-drug resistance of bacterial pathogens. The adopted APC strategies and
physicochemical properties that show how they can be used to increase the
antibacterial efficacy are also discussed in detail. Next contribution deals with
chemistry and biology of farnesol and its derivatives was prepared by Dr.
Krishna Mohan Poluri from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India.
This interesting review discusses the biological roles, chemical-biochemical synthesis, metabolic engineering, and crucial biotechnological
uses of farnesol based compounds. The third contribution entitled internet resources for drug discovery and design
was received from Prof. Maria Grishina, South Ural State University, Russia. This comprehensive review highlights the
possibilities of the internet resources for a study of a drug action at the most important stages. Also, a detailed assessment of
advantages of the reviewed internet resources is presented. The fourth article entitled chemotherapeutic potential of monensin
as an anti-microbial agent, presented by Dr. Vinoth Rajendran and co-workers deals with the therapeutic potential of monensin
as a new broad spectrum anti-microbial agent that permits further investigations for clinical use. The last review article on apicoplast
metabolism: parasite’s Achilles’ heel was contributed by Dr. Manmeet Rawat and co-workers from University of New
Mexico, USA. This article describes the cardinal features of the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway enzymes and progress
made towards the characterization of new inhibitors. MEP pathway is described as a repertoire of novel anti-malarials and
antibacterial drug targets.
The Guest editors are highly thankful to all the authors and referees for their valuable support to this special issue. Science
and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Govt. of India is acknowledged for financial support (ECR/2015/000448). YK is
grateful to the Department of Science and Technology (DST-SERB), Ministry of Science and Technology, India for financial
As it has already been stated [1, 2], basic neuroscience research is prevented from instrumentation
into direct clinical application due to several methodological limitations, concerning extrapolation,
penetrability and objectivity of the methods.
In other terms a large part of neurobiological inquiry, including studies of neurochemical pathways,
drug targets and mechanisms remain relatively discrepant from clinical utility. In this special
issue there has been delivered strong evidence on the potential use of tetramethoxyluteholine and umbelliferone
as treatment agents for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. However rather
fundamental pharmaceutical perspective (drug synthesis) have been employed by Dhiman et al. 
whilst Theoharides and Tsilioni  embrace more medical stance, with an emphasis on the drug target
mechanisms in the cytokine-neuropeptide interactions.
Further there has been achieved remarkable advance into in-vivo imaging of the underlying neurochemical processes in
mental disorders which essentially provide insights beyond the aforementioned limitations of the traditionally adopted neuroscientific
methods . Those are in particular the methods of functional neuroimaging. Most promising progress in the application
of magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the study of the metabolites involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia has been
summarized by Dwyer et al. and for functional magnetic resonance imaging results with memory evaluation paradigms in bipolar
disorders by Beshkov et al. .
This field of research is linked directly to the studies of novel molecular pathways implicated in various mental disorders
The bottom line message from our Special Issue is that the advances in applied neuroscience research bring together large
scale experimental data sets spanning from neurochemical to neurophysiological and behavioral levels of explanation which
should gradually aspire towards in vivo real time investigations of the biological substrate behind neurological and psychiatric
Design and development of new drugs is extremely expensive and resource-intensive process. During the past few
decades, computer-aided drug designing/ discovery has played a major role in designing of new drugs in a
cost-effective manner. Computer-aided drug designing utilizes concepts of structural/ chemical biology to efficiently
identify and optimize lead compounds using computational tools and methods. Structure-based and ligand-based
drug designing approaches are commonly employed for virtual screening/ identification of lead compounds or to
improve the therapeutic potential of an existing lead compound. Homology modelling, virtual screening, quantitative
structure-activity relationships (QSAR), density functional theory (DFT), molecular docking, molecular dynamics (MD)
simulation and in silico absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) predictions as well as
systems biology approach aids in the drug development process. This thematic issue is aimed to illustrate the pivotal
role of computational techniques in unravelling the structure-function relationship to understand the molecular
recognition events of target macromolecule with ligand leading to the design of improved lead candidate for the
Applied neuroscience includes contributions and insights from neuro-biochemistry, molecular neurobiology,
neuroimmunology, neuropharmacology and among others.
The present topic embraces a complex multi-dimensional interface between basic neuroscience
innovative study designs, novel molecular and bio-chemical markers and drug targets; advanced computational
technologies and their implementation in clinical neuropsychiatry. It will address as well
the interplay of complex neurobiological factors and psychosomatic disorders
Neglected Diseases are those that affect almost exclusively poor and powerless
people living in rural parts of low-income countries . They sometimes
attract other labels, such as tropical diseases or poverty-related diseases.
Neglected diseases include leishmaniasis (kalazar), onchocerciasis, Chagas
disease, leprosy, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, African
trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), malaria and dengue . Some are lifethreatening,
while others result in high morbidity and severe disabilities [1, 3].
Currently some of these tropical infections have become a major global
concern, due to serious sequelae; as Zika Virus and Ebola. Also, geographical
distances between continents do not represent a barrier to infectious agents
due to rapid transport. Infected human hosts can travel facilitating epidemics.
The objective for this thematic issue was to report recent studies about different approaches in drug
discovery, which comprises synthesis, semi-synthesis, the search for new targets, natural products,
evaluation of biological activities, and/or theoretical approaches as structure-based approaches, SAR,
QSAR, docking and several cheminformatics methods , for investigation and selection of new lead
molecules. These efforts involve several studies to aid the drug discovery of new options for the treatment
of neglected diseases.
Dengue like any neglected tropical disease affects a large part of the world population. In this disease,
the infection is caused by arboviruses transmitted by A. aegypti and A. albopictus mosquito, in
which the most severe manifestation is known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. The infected person presents symptoms characteristic
of fever and rash. Among the ways of fighting dengue by bioactives is the inhibition of NS2B-NS3 protease, inhibition of
protein E, and inhibition of sclerotization of the vector cuticle. The cuticle is indispensable for the survival of the mosquito that
can be compromised through the inhibition of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (aaNAT). In our manuscript entitled Dengue
Virus Inhibition Targets: A Review and Docking Study, in silico tests were performed as molecular docking, functional
density analysis, molecular orbitals energies and of the interactions between the bioactive and the targets studied were analyzed.
However, in addition to discussing the fight against dengue virus infection through different routes, some in silico results
of 27 analogs of myricetin have been presented, which showed action on the cuticle sclerotization mechanism.
Dengue Fever: A Worldwide Threat: An Overview of the Infection Process, Environmental Factors for Global Outbreak,
Diagnostic Platforms, and Vaccine Developments by Hosseini et al, is a review article also focused on Dengue. The
paper covers essential topics including an overview on neglected tropical diseases with specific emphasis on Dengue fever,
mosquito's cycle of life and mechanism of infection, adaptive response, and different stages in Dengue immunopathogenesis.
The current work is also dedicated to the thorough study of Dengue outbreak across the globe with a brief study of tropical and
subtropical regions. Moreover, this review article demonstrates the correlation between the climatic factors and Dengue incidence.
In the manuscript entitled, Discovery of Potent Inhibitors for the Inhibition of Dengue Envelope Protein: An In Silico
Approach, Aarthy & Singh showed a study with the crystal structure of Dengue Envelope protein from the protein data bank
optimized through Schrodinger. The structure based virtual screening based on the co-crystallised ligand has been carried out
with the small molecule libraries and based on the docking score, interaction and energy values, best complexes were selected.
The selected complexes were further taken forward for the conformational stability analysis through Molecular dynamics simulation.
From the results it is evident that the compounds DB00179, Quercetin, Silymarin, Dapagliflozlin and Fisetin could be
novel and potent candidates to inhibit the DENV envelope protein.
Many of the tropical diseases are neglected by the researchers and medicinal companies due to lack of profit and other interests.
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) was established to overcome the problems associated with these
neglected diseases. According to a report published by the WHO, leprosy (Hansen's disease) is also a neglected infectious disease.
The treatment used until now for leprosy is multi-drug treatment. The complete genome identification of Mycobacterium
leprae makes the research easy to develop target specified drugs for leprosy. Rifampicin, identified as a potent drug, along with
other drugs in uniform multi-drug treatment, has a significant effect when given to leprosy patients at initial stages. These are
effective treatments but a specific drug for leprosy is still needed to be identified. The review of Aamir et al., Recent Advancement
in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Leprosy, highlights the use of modern methods for the identification of leprosy
at its earlier stages and the effective use of drugs alone as well as in combination.
The manuscript of Hazra & Patra entitled Alleviating the Neglected Tropical Diseases: Recent Developments in Diagnostics
and Detection discussed various novel research progresses/advancements made for qualitative and quantitative measurement of infectious load in some diseases like dengue, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis; though further improvements in the
specificity and sensitivity front are still awaited. Strategies to combat the problem of antimicrobial drug resistance in the diagnosis
of NTDs have also been put forward by various research groups and organizations. Moreover, the state-of-the-art “omics”
approaches like metabolomics and metagenomics have also started to contribute constructively towards diagnosis and prevention
of the NTDs.
The aim of the study by Khan and co-workers, Formulation and Characterization of a Self-Emulsifying Drug Delivery
system (SEDDS) of Curcumin for the Topical Application in Cutaneous and Mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis, was to develop
a Self-Emulsifying Drug Delivery System (SEDDS) for the hydrophobic polyphenol pigment curcumin to enable it for its
potential use in cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis. The results demonstrated that the SEDDS formulations of curcumin
have the potential to provide a promising tool for curcumin for its use through topical routes in the treatment of these diseases.
Through virtual screening of a chemical library of 15,123 small molecules, analyzed by two programs, four potential inhibitors
of phosphoglycerate mutase 1 from P. falciparum were found by Rios-Soto et al. The study was reported in the manuscript
entitled Virtual Screening, Molecular Dynamics and ADME-Tox Tools for Finding Potential Inhibitors of Phosphoglycerate
Mutase 1 from Plasmodium falciparum. Molecular dynamic analysis revealed that these molecules interact with residues
important for enzyme catalysis and molecule ZINC04343691 provoked the highest structural changes. Physiochemical
and toxicological profiles evaluation of these inhibitors with ADME-Tox method suggested that they can be considered as potential
drugs. Furthermore, analysis of human PGAM-B suggested that these molecules could be selective for parasitic enzymes.
In the manuscript of Thomas & Timson, entitled The Mechanism of Action of Praziquantel: Some Hypotheses; the
authors discussed that there is a critical need to understand the biochemical pharmacology of the praziquantel in order to inform
the discovery of the next generation of anthelmintic drugs.
We, the Guest-Editors, would like to express our gratitude to the many authors who contributed to this special issue, reporting
investigations of various aspects of Recent Advancement against Neglected Diseases.
Heterocyclic rings are considered the pillars of medicinal chemistry because
they are merged into the molecular structure of most of the available
therapeutic drugs in the market. Since the early days of medicinal chemistry,
these rings were known to be important as structural feature responsible for
the relationship between structure and biological activities. Taylor et al. 
estimated that approximately six new ring systems are created per year and
that some of these are incorporated into new drugs. According to the authors,
1,2,4 and 1,2,3-triazoles are among the top 100 most frequently used ring systems
from small molecule drugs listed in the FDA orange book sorted by descending
The sub-class of five-membered heterocycle [2-4] is widespread in nature  as well as in the
therapeutic arsenal available to treat various diseases . In addition, they have several representative
drugs in the market for the treatment of disease as antifungal, anticancer, antiviral, β-lactamase inhibitor,
anticonvulsant and antibiotic agents [7-11].
This special issue is based on seven manuscripts dealing with recent advances in the application of
triazoles derivatives for treatment against infectious disease.
Forezi et al.  reported a review covering synthetic methods that give access to other variations
around the 1,2,3-triazole core. The systematic arrangement in this review explores the possibility of
providing practical guidance to alternatives of this heterocycle. It has been divided into sections according
to the types of starting materials and reactions. Heterocyclic rings having nitrogen atoms are the molecular fragments
mostly used in drug design by using the tools of medicinal chemistry.
Souza and colleagues  synthesized a series of naphthotriazolyl-4-oxoquinolines that exhibited potent in vitro antileishmanial
activity involving at least two different mechanisms of action, making them promising lead compounds for the
development of new therapeutic alternatives for leishmaniasis.
Branco and coworkers  synthesized a series of naphthotriazolyl-4-oxoquinoline derivatives and tested their activity
against a human breast cancer cell line. Among the compounds tested, a molecule was identified that killed the human breast
cancer cell line MCF-7 with minimal effects on its healthy cell MCF10A. The selectivity observed against breast cancer cells
make the molecule 12c a potential candidate as a novel anticancer drug. The antitumor mechanism involves the inhibition of
glycolysis, diminished intracellular ATP levels, induction of ROS production and triggering of apoptosis. These effects are all
selective for cancer cells, since the healthy cells are unaffected, and these effects can only be attributed to the whole molecule
since different groups do not reproduce the effects.
Reis and coworkers  prepared a series of symmetrical 1,4-disubstituted bis-1,2,3-triazoles by double Copper Catalyzed
Azide-Alkyne Cycloaddition (CuAAC) from aliphatic bis-azides and a tetraethylene glycol bis-azide derivative. The novel
compounds were evaluated in vitro for their cytotoxic activity against two human tumor cell lines: human breast adenocarcinoma
(MDA-MB 231) and ovarian adenocarcinoma (TOV-21G). The results showed that some compounds exhibited a better
selectivity index and cell viability comparable with the standard drug doxorubicin. These compounds induced apoptosis in both
tested cell lines. The results suggest that these compounds may be promising prototypes for antitumor agents.
Imbroisi-Filho and coworkers  tested several novel triazoles compounds for their putative anticancer activity and one
molecule (DAN94) presented selective effects on cancer cells with minimal effects on non-cancer cells. The anticancer effect
occurs through the disruption of mitochondrial potential which induced the production of ROS, triggering cell apoptosis. In
parallel, cells are arrested on G1/G0 phase of the cell cycle, decreasing the ability of these cells to proliferate. On top of that,
when administered to mice with xenograft tumors, DAN94 strongly reduced tumor growth with no toxic effect. These results
suggested that DAN94 is a good candidate for anticancer drug due to its selective effects on cancer cells and should be tested in
a pre-clinical trial.
Costa et. al.  synthesized two series of the compounds containing 1,2,3-triazoles ring in their structures and biologically
evaluated novel inhibitors of HIV Reverse Transcriptase (RT). The results of the biological evaluation showed that all compounds
presented high RT inhibition values and lower or comparable inhibitory concentrations. Thus, new compounds could be
considered lead compounds for the development of new antiretroviral compounds.
Lal and coworkers  synthetized sixteen new hybrids and were tested in vitro for their antimicrobial activity. Some of the
tested compounds exhibited promising antimicrobial activity and could be utilized for the development of the new and more
potent antimicrobial drugs. All these publications confirm the importance of triazoles scaffold in the search for new biologically active compounds.
The classical methods of diagnosis in both parasitology and mycology
require microscopic visualization as well as the identification
of the microorganisms using their morphological characteristics. In
addition in the case of fungi, it is necessary to use culture-based
methods. However, these methods are tedious and usually not very
sensitive and require trained personnel to perform them.
Tools for the diagnosis and monitoring of the disease remains a
challenge, since a diagnosis is misleading, erroneous or too slow, hinder
effective treatments. As a result, new and low-cost assays are required to help physicians
to establish an accurate and definitive diagnosis and to modify the strategies to control these infectious diseases.
Alternatively, indirect methods have been developed, such as serology-based assays and more recently molecular-
based assays. In this respect, this CTMC thematic issue includes extensive reviews of updated diagnostic
Recently, molecular techniques based on the amplification of nucleic acids have allowed the development of
sensitive, specific and rapid diagnostic methods, however their high price and the requirement of infrastructures
make difficult to apply them in low-resource countries. Dea-Ayuela et al. have analysed the main advances in the
development of a molecular technique called Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) assay for the diagnosis
of malaria, leishmaniasis and Chagas' disease as well as the feasibility of their implementation in developing
countries and its use as point-of-care diagnostic tests .
Candida is a fungus that is present in the skin, mouth or intestine of healthy individuals whose growth is controlled
primarily by the immune system. However, in certain circumstances, such as immunosuppression, the infection
spreads to different organs causing an invasive candidiasis. Pitarch et al. compiles an extensive review of the
diagnostic methods applied in the most serious forms of candidiasis, the invasive one, since the rapidity in making
the correct diagnosis is fundamental in the control of the infection and the prognosis of the disease .
Infectious diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites and are
one of the leading causes of human morbidity and mortality, being also responsible
for huge economic losses in the livestock industry. Among the control measurements
of infectious diseases are the correct diagnosis and the adequate treatment
of patients or/and asymptomatic carrier.
Unlike other pathogenic microorganisms, parasites and fungi are eukaryotic
organisms, so their cells are very similar to human/animals cells, making necesary
to search and develop drugs without side effect or toxicity to the hosts cells.
The fungal and parasitic infections have a wide global distribution, however
the therapeutic arsenal available in the XXI century remains extremely reduced,
this problem is aggravated by the appearance of resistance to conventional treatments. Due to the indifference of pharmaceutical industry,
non-profit organizations, such as universities or research centers, are doing an exhaustive effort in the identification of compounds
with antiparasitic and antifungal activity. There are different approaches in the search for new drugs, such as High-Throughput
Screening Tests (HTS), which allow for the evaluation of thousands of different biological compounds through robotic systems, the
identification of the mechanism of action and subsequent development of compounds with the same mechanism, or computer-aided
design that includes structure-activity studies or virtual screening, among others.
On the one hand, the complexity of the host-parasite system makes that compounds with good activity in in silico and in vitro
models do not correlate with good efficacy in vivo, either because they do not reach the parasite per se (many parasites are intracellular
or are anatomically isolated) or because the parasite has different forms with different responses to the compound.
Since these pathogens have accompanied mankind since many years and hence, there are numerous ethno-pharmacological and
ethno-botanical data that support the use of different plants in the treatment of the infections produce by parasites and fungi. Some of
them are collected in traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic or in the traditions of various indigenous groups from different parts of
the world. Due to the difficulty of accessing conventional drugs in many developing countries, WHO has included among health
strategies the incorporation of traditional medicine (complementary and alternative) to health systems, as long as there are clinical
investigations that guarantee its safety and efficacy.
This CTMC thematic issue includes extensive reviews related to the natural, conventional and advanced pharmacological treatments
of various fungal and parasitic infections.
Passero et al., reviewed several studies to understand how active products obtained from plants can be used in the treatment of
leishmaniosis, with special emphasis on those from Brazil.
Vivancos et al., make an extensive review about the treatment of Giardia intestinalis, from conventional pharmacological treatments
to the use of medicinal plants, probiotics and new formulations with the aim to reduce the appearance of resistance and toxicity.
Several parasites are responsible for diseases in livestock and involve large economic losses. Sanchez-Sanchez et al., examine the
different measures applied in the control of Toxoplasma and Neospora, responsible for abortions in livestock with special emphasis on
chemotherapeutical guidelines taking into account the different stages of the parasite and the safety for the final consumer.
Candida is a part of our habitual microbiota, however in certain circumstances it can behave like an opportunistic pathogen, generating
from skin and mucous infections to serious invasive forms.
González-Burgos & Gómez-Serranillos analyze clinical evidence on the effectiveness of natural products in the vulvovaginal candidiasis,
including essential oils, honey and yogurt or plant extracts.
Finally, Taborda et al., focuses on two of the most important systemic mycoses, paracoccidioidomycosis and histoplasmosis, and
their major characteristics in epidemiology, clinical aspects, treatment and laboratory diagnosis.
To rush to edit a special issue requires a lot of energy, motivation and constancy.
When we started to consider the idea, it seemed a quite complicated
challenge because our day to day struggle, as well as the authors and collaborators,
were already strenuous. However, after many talks and discussions we
decided to start this project. Various factors acted as detonators of our determination.
We believe that the modern University cannot be just a factory of
employees, but of people committed to the community and to the culture. In
this particular case, we speak of the scientific culture but with the widest possible
sense, making it a support of our humanity itself. The implementation of
these foundations configures the hegemony of certain relational and understanding
principles, of a vision of science, the life and the world. Beyond the particular positions and the over-meant local conditions
that envelop all that remains within their reach, the moment we currently live allows us to identify the planetary expansion
of scientific thoughts, risky theoretical and practical approaches. They all acquire countless forms allowing the apparent
difference to be valued and signified. Unraveling this avalanche of progress and events is not only a necessity for knowledge,
but a social urgency in the face of global conditions. As new generations are integrated into science, it is imperative to convey
knowledge to them. This gives a community wherein the other is heard, developing strong links between the old and young
It is now time to analyze the two points of maximum relevance in these special numbers: the focus of the publication and
the target audience. With regard to the first, we have focused on works that sketch modern settings and particular allusions to
topics that under our point of view we consider the most relevant. At this time, we can guarantee that the chosen works include
some of the most avant-garde proposals and initiatives, in tune and synchrony with the spirit of the publication. These articles
are contemporary reflections that reread the present and open horizons beyond rigid and inflexible schemes. But not without
giving up scientific rigor and, above all, the interconnection between different branches of knowledge. The second point to take
into account focuses on the potential audience. When a publication with several authors and points of view assumes an expositive
function it is difficult to specify the limits of that audience without having the idea of each one of the contributors. Such
standpoint offers different approaches, which do not stop evolving, just like the audience itself. As an example, communication
channels, audience profile and continuos increase of the multidisciplinarity make it difficult to homogenize the perspective.
That is why we have tried to guarantee a wide outlook of the subject, seeking to ensure the authors to introduce their subjects
with a general and accessible style and increasing the complexity and depth of the study progressively. We thus guarantee the
possibility that each reader will extract the appropriate information and adjusted to their specific needs.
Let us turn now to the content of this issue. The first manuscript has been reserved for both of us, as editors. Our goal was to
introduce the general subject and make a critical view of the state of the art. We know that the biopolymers are the fundamental
basis of chemical medicine and try to encompass everything is impossible. Therefore, we decided to organize the work focusing
on their interactions with different types of materials (organic and inorganic) and the most technologies used: bulk and microfluidics.
The next article is a review related to the development of new classes of antibacterial drugs. This review is focused on the
worldwide problem provenient from bacterial resistance that will generate 10 millions deaths per year in 2050. The authors
present different topics the reason for the decreased development of antibacterial agents, current strategies in antibacterial drug
development, new mechanisms of action, and clinical development.
The third article focuses on a computational vision on physicochemcial properties of biopolymer-material complexes. It
offers a wide and contemporary vision of computational techniques with the most impact on biomedicine, more specifically: a
combination of machine learning techniques and perturbation theories.
The subject of the following article deals with the mechanical properties of biomaterials. Areas focused on tissue engineering
or bone regeneration are not understood without the knowledge of the mechanical properties of the constituents. In this
study the authors introduce us in the field of rheology by studying and analyzing some of the most important bioceramics in
We shall turn to the next manuscript, a review that is focused on the most relevant colloidal drug delivery systems describing
the effects of surface charge, hydrophobicity on bilogical response and the different strategies to modify the surface of organic,
inorganic and biological materials.
The sixth chapter offers us a vision on the structure and hierarchy of collagen not only from a biological perspective but also
explains its potential applications in medicine.
The seventh article is focused on the function of allyl isocyanate (AITC)-loaded Polylactic-co-Glycolic Acid (PLGA) as
anticancer. The targeting ability was tested in HeLa cells demonstrating more effective anticancer properties compared with
free AITC and their citoxicity was even more pronounced when a anti-EGFR antibody was covalently attached to the NPs surface.
Additinally, the importance of this manuscript is that the proposed system (antibody-functinalized AITC-loaded PLGA
NPs) was especifically located in squamous carcinoma A431 cells in comparison with non-functionalized NPs that were distributed
The last manuscript is a research article related to two new materials for the encapsulation of bioactive compounds as carvacol:
Pectin (PEC) and Aloe-gel (AG). The authors characterize this PEC/AG film for different techniques demonstrating the
optimal concentration to microencapsulate carvacol.
Aims & Scope:
Burgeoning rise in different disease cases such as cancer, viral diseases including Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika,
Ebola, Japanese encephalitis, etc., other tropical and neglected diseases, metabolic conditions such as
diabetes and many other health conditions warrants the need of immediate investigations and end the human
plight for ensuring a better tomorrow.
Advances in scientific research have shown the impact in eradication and prevention of many diseases
conditions such as polio. Interplay of experimental and theoretical approaches have come a long way in proving
their effectiveness and worth in this regard. Earlier computational approaches were almost ignored by a large
section of the scientific community. Last few decades have witnessed a drastic change in the existing beliefs
and today theoretical techniques are not only supporting and supplementing experimental results but also
guiding studies by providing valuable cues.
Computational approaches pertaining to understanding complex biological system have come a long way
during past few years rising from its infancy to blooming into a full-fledged science. Simple bioinformatics and
chemo-informatics approaches are being frequently applied in the arena of system biology and are providing
remarkable insights on unsolved and unanswered scientific questions so far
At present, with the continuous development of bioinformatics, computing
technology has been successfully applied in all aspects of pharmacy and
medicine. Among them, the identification of drug-target interactions, synergistic
drug combinations and drug repositioning based on heterogeneous biological
data and powerful computational models are important topics in computational
biology. Research on these important issues is not only for a better
understanding of the various interactions and biological processes, but also for
the development of new drugs and the improvement of human drugs.
Previously, drug research faced an important problem that was difficult to
solve. Since multiple targets usually involve the same disease, following a single disease, a single target, a single drug paradigm
does not have the desired effect on accelerating drug discovery. Recently, in order to improve drug efficacy and overcome
problems before drug resistance, the development of multi-target drugs has received much attention. It is well known that despite
drug-target interactions, experimental assays for synergistic drug combinations and drug repositioning are very valuable
and have made significant contributions to drug research, but the technical challenges make these experiments time consuming,
expensive and limited to small scale studies.
Surprisingly, computational methods can provide new predictions for experimental scientists and narrow the scope of candidates
to accelerate drug discovery. Therefore, the development of a powerful method for the effective detection of potential
drug-target interactions in a genome-wide manner, synergistic drug combinations and drug-disease associations is urgent. Using
these computational models to obtain potential predictions with higher scores, and implementing biological experiments to verify,
will greatly reduce human and material resources.
The following pages of this issue are seven papers presenting current application of computational techniques in pharmacy and
medicine, representing only a small portion of current research. The following is a brief description of these papers.
In the opening paper of this issue, Muhammad et al. comprehensively presented the latest advances in drug target interaction
identification methods and their use in drug multi-pharmacology .
In the second review, Ding et al. summarized the latest advances in computational methods for predicting effective drug
combinations in a number of ways, including various datasets for discovering synergistic drug combinations, feature-based
similarity measures and machine learning methods, as well as web-based methods that reveal synergistic drug combinations. In
addition, the calculation method for predicting effective drug combinations was analyzed and predicted in this article .
Zhang et al. discussed current knowledge about ncRNA and network pharmacology-regulated genes involved in pulmonary
arterial hypertension, as well as potential drug targets for pulmonary arterial hypertension .
Zhang et al. comprehensively reviewed the drug toxicity prediction studies based on machine learning in recent years, and
compared the performance of the models proposed in these studies in terms of accuracy, sensitivity and specificity, providing
the current state-of-the-art in this field and highlighting the issues in the current studies .
Wang et al. outlined the structure-based drug design used in drug discovery and highlighted its recent successes and major
challenges of the current structure-based drug design approach .
Hao et al. summarized common methods for using protein-protein interaction networks to aid disease research and drug
discovery, including network topology analysis, identification of new pathways, drug targets, and subnetwork biomarkers for
Dong et al. discussed in detail the progress of parallel acceleration molecular docking software based on different common
high performance computing platforms. Not only is the existing suitable program optimized and ported to the high performance
computing platform, but many novel parallel algorithms are also designed and implemented. In addition, this article focuses on
the techniques and methods used to parallelize docking software and recommended exemplar case studies .
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all authors and reviewers for their contribution to this issue. We would
also like to extend our appreciation to the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Allen B. Reitz and the editorial staff of Current Topics in Medicinal
Chemistry for their excellent support and providing us with the opportunity to pursue this hot topic issue.
Enabling technologies like Computational Chemistry, Bioinformatics, Combinatorial Chemistry,
Metabolomics, Proteomics (OMICS in general), etc., are expected to speed up the discovery of more
efficient and safer drugs in Medicinal Chemistry. Recently, this journal has launched a series of special
issues focused on this topic. The title of this series of special issues is: New experimental and computational
tools for drug discovery: From chemistry to biology. Four (1-4) special issues are currently
available. In these issues, experts from around the world discuss the state-of-art and/or report new
methodologies. The methodologies focus on organic synthesis of new lead compounds, the in silico
screening of new lead compounds, computational discovery of drugs from natural compounds isolated
from plants, the repurposing of known drugs, re-engineering of cost-effective medicines, nano-systems
for drug release, etc. The present issue is entitled: New experimental and computational tools for drug
discovery: From chemistry to biology. Part 4. Metabolomics, Pharmacokinetics, and Medicinal Chemistry. Part 4 is the continuation
of the series and provides six papers focused on new technologies used in drug discovery, but this time with emphasis
on Metabolomics, Pharmacokinetics, and Medicinal Chemistry. The papers included in Part 4 can be summarized as follows:
Gross et al.,  point out that metabolomics experiments generate a rich array of complex high-dimensional data. They
suggest that this may, in part, account for past and more recent incomplete replications of previously specified biomarker panels,
especially if not adequately considered. Herein, they identify common impediments challenging the analysis of raw, targeted
Metabolomic abundance data and review methods that may remedy these issues, based on personal experiences and those
of others. In doing so, they propose an analytical pipeline suitable for the pre-processing of data prior to downstream biomarker
González-Domínguez et al.,  present work focused on intervention and observational trials as complementary tools in
Metabolomics. The authors provide a review of the literature regarding the application of metabolomics in assessing metabolic
alterations with diabetes, diabetic insulin resistance, and provide an oral glucose tolerance test case study to demonstrate the
complementarity of observational and interventional study designs.
Kataria et al.,  presented a work on the role of morin in Neurodegenerative Diseases (NDDs). NDDs are known to cause
profound effects on families and patients, and a tremendous financial burden on the healthcare system of most populations
worldwide. Morin, being a super antioxidant compound, may help prevent and mitigate such disorders by suppression of Reactive
Oxygen Species (ROS) and through the inhibition of multiple additional targets. In this review, the authors discuss various
neuropathological conditions and their specific target sites that may be relevant to morin’s neurobiological mechanisms.
Bueso-Bordils et al.,  focused on obtaining microbiological and pharmacokinetic predictive equations. They reviewed the
state-of-art in the area and also reported a new study. Multi-Linear Regression (MLR) analysis was carried out in order to accurately
predict physicochemical properties and biological activities on a group of antibacterial quinolones by means of a set of
structural descriptors called topological indices. The aim of this work included developing prediction equations for such properties,
after reviewing the relevant literature on antibacterial quinolones.
De Sousa Eduardo et al.,  focus on the requirement of research related to new antimicrobial agents, as increasing numbers
of microorganisms expressing antibiotic-resistance are emerging. In this paper, the authors review the topic and also pro- De Sousa Eduardo et al.,  focus on the requirement of research related to new antimicrobial agents, as increasing numbers
of microorganisms expressing antibiotic-resistance are emerging. In this paper, the authors review the topic and also provide
verification for the activity of a phytoconstituent against Escherichia coli strains ATCC 25922 and Staphylococcus aureus
ATCC 25923. The authors recommend further investigations, utilizing different methodologies assessing whether (+) - α-
pinene may provide an effective compound in future antimicrobial therapy.
Srivastava et al.,  focused on the inhibition of biofilm and virulence factors associated with Candida albicans by the partially
purified secondary metabolites of Streptomyces chrestomyceticus strain ADP4. Despite several advancements in antifungal
drug discovery, fungal diseases, such as Invasive Candidiasis (IC), remain associated with inordinately high rates of morbidity
and mortality worldwide. In this paper, chemical profiling indicates that ADP4 secondary metabolites contained potentially
beneficial alkaloids, flavonoids, polyphenols, terpenoids and triterpenes. The authors also report other experimental and
Infectious diseases are still one of the main cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. In addition,
antimicrobial resistance is a well-recognized global threat; hence, necessitates the development of
tough policies to control the spread of disease-causing microorganisms coupled with antimicrobial
stewardship strategies and new therapies to reverse this process. In order to fight against microbial
infections, we need new antimicrobials. Much effort has been infused by the scientific community in
the past to the search of new and potential antimicrobials. Researchers have explored antimicrobials
based on plants, microorganisms, and even synthesized new compounds. This issue deals with the important
developments related to the topic of antimicrobials, especially, plant-based antimicrobials,
β-lactamase inhibitors, new synthetic drugs, and also about the target based drug delivery system in
case of chemotherapeutic agents.
Singh et al. have discussed the importance of plant antimicrobials of the past decade (2007-2017). As plants are the major
contributors of vast number of compounds, the plants have remained the indispensable source of medicine, and thus plant based
antimicrobials are important to be considered. Most of these compounds are produced as secondary metabolites and their medicinal
properties may be beneficial for the human being also. The synthetic chemistry has offered various molecules but most
of these are directly or indirectly related to some plant source. In the current review, they have presented the plant-based antimicrobials
reported between 2007 to 2017. Genera where most of the researchers have concentrated during this period includes,
Thymus, Helichrysum, Quercus, Jatropha, Gnaphalium, Acalypha, and Lippia. Some other miscellaneous gene on which one or
two reports are available include, Conocarpus, Chamaesyce, Bucida, Boehmesia, Pancratium, Artemisia, and Cinnamosma .
Wang et al. emphasized the development of β-lactamase inhibitors as potential antimicrobial agents. Horizontal transfer of
the genes encoding metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) among Gram-negative bacteria pathogens has led to the emergence of drugresistant
pathogens, which now represent a major threat to the human health. It is urgent to develop new antibiotic agents to
fight against antibiotic resistance. Metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) are an important class of Zn(II)-dependent enzymes that can
hydrolyze almost all β-lactams and render bacteria resistant to antibiotics in the clinic. To date, there are no clinically available
MBL inhibitors although a large number of MBL inhibitors have been identified. In this review, they have highlighted the recent
developments in small-molecule MBL inhibitors in the past decade .
Kaur et al. synthesized and characterized a new series of diazenyl chalcones by combining the azo and chalcone moiety
together and evaluated them for antimicrobial and antioxidant potential. Some of the derivatives had shown high antimicrobial
and antioxidant activity as compared to the standard drugs and hence presented new lead compounds for the development of
novel antimicrobial agents .
Conventional chemotherapeutics lack the specificity and controllability, thus may annihilate healthy cells while attempting
to annihilate cancerous ones. Newly developed nano-drug delivery systems have shown promise in delivering anti-tumor agents
with enhanced stability, durability, and overall performance; especially when used along with targeting and triggering techniques.
Ahmed et al. traced back the history of chemotherapy, addressing the main challenges that have encouraged medical
researchers to seek a sanctuary in nanotechnological-based drug delivery systems that are grafted with appropriate targeting
techniques and drug release mechanisms. A special focus will be paid towards acoustically triggered liposomes encapsulating
As a whole, all these papers illustrate the versatility of this topic and highlight the importance of developing new prospection
tools to advance the discovery of new compounds.
I want to thank Bentham Science Publishers especially, the Editor in Chief Dr. Allen B. Reitz, who provided me the opportunity
to contribute this thematic issue on such a topic and also all the editorial members for their continued support and cohesive
interactions. I express my highest gratitude to all the contributing authors for their commitment, subject expertise, dedicated
work, healthy coordination and support to me throughout the issue. I would also like to pay special thanks to all the reviewers
for spending their valuable time on critical analysis of the manuscripts and providing valuable suggestions for further
refining the manuscripts. At last, I am also thankful to all our readers.
Infection or colonization, contrary to what many people think, does not
necessarily imply immediate damage to the host. From birth, beneficial microorganisms
coexist and develop within us for a long time. However, when
such organisms cause damage to the host body, an infectious disease with the
associated symptoms and pathology is contracted. From a clinical point of
view, a pathogen is any microorganism capable of developing as an infectious
disease; where differences in pathogenicity depend on virulence. Infectious
diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses,
parasites or fungi can spread, from person to person, directly or indirectly and
throughout a community.
The studies united in this issue demonstrate the efforts of research to combat such infections and reduce the social cost of
Antimicrobial resistance is a major global concern. Strains of Tuberculosis (TB) resistant to rifampicin and other drugs
challenge patient survival and public health. The World Health Organization (WHO)  has issued treatment guidelines for
drug-resistant tuberculosis since 1997, and last updated these guidelines in 2016 based on the assessments of patient data in
both published and unpublished studies. As the first choice for patients assailed by Multiple Drug Resistant Or Rifampicin Resistant
(MDR/RR) strains, WHO recommends a standardized treatment regimen of from 9 to 12 months. Mycobacteria are
characterized as slow-growing bacillus having a cell wall composed of highly lipophilic mycolic acids. The nature of this cell
wall is of most importance to the development of new candidates for anti-tuberculosis (anti-TB) drugs. Mycobacterium tuberculosis
is an intracellular pathogen highly adapted to its natural host: the human. Its cell wall, consisting mainly of mycolic acids,
forms a hydrophobic barrier that confers resistance to both desiccation and discoloration by alcohol or acid. In our review,
entitled Multi-Target Antitubercular Drugs, we reported the discovery of 3 classes of compounds that can simultaneously
interact with more than one target of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Increased incidences of Candida infection have augmented morbidity and mortality in the human population, particularly
among severely immunocompromised patients and those having a long stay in hospitals (nosocomial infections). Many virulence
factors and fitness attributes are reported to be associated with the pathogenicity of Candida sp . It can cause infections
ranging from easily treatable superficial type to life-threatening invasive infections. Additionally, it has the capability to infect
humans of all age groups. Indeed, overutilization of broad-spectrum antibiotics has further complicated the scenario by leading
to the emergence of less sensitive Candida strains, especially non-albicans. Despite our developed armamentarium, the diagnosis
and treatment of human fungal infections remain a challenge. The review of Dr. Srivastava and co-workers entitled Emerging
virulence, drug resistance and future anti-fungal drugs for Candida pathogens, focused on the prevalence of Candida
spp. as human pathogens with emerging resistance to existing anti-fungal drugs. Furthermore, factors and mechanisms contributing
to the pathogenicity of Candida spp. and the challenges being faced in combating the devastating infections associated
with these pathogens have been discussed. Also, pros and cons of the current and future anti-mycotic drugs have been analyzed.
Current study assesses the in-vitro antimicrobial activity of the crude extract of D. retusa (whole plant) and its derived fractions
against clinically isolated human pathogenic bacteria and fungi . In the manuscript Evaluation of In-Vitro Antimicrobial
Potential of Daphne retusa Hemsl. against Human Pathogenic Bacteria and Fungi, Dr. Nawab et al. studied D. retusa
as powder dried Extracted with methanol (E1). The study showed that D. retusa had a very good inhibitory action against different
bacterial and fungal strains. All of the extracts were active almost against every microorganism used in the study. E2 has
maximum percent inhibition against bacterial growth while E1 has maximum percent inhibition against fungal growth. Streptococcus
pneumonia was the most susceptible bacteria while among fungi, Gongronella butleri showed the highest susceptibility.
Onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) extracts are traditionally used in many cultures as antimicrobial
agents. Nonetheless, there is still a dearth of scientific validation pertaining to the antibacterial and possible antibiotic potentiating
activity of these plants . In the work Onion and garlic extracts potentiates the efficacy of conventional antibiotics
against standard and clinical bacterial isolates of Dr. Mahomoodally and co-workers, decoction as traditionally used and
methanol, ethanol, ethyl acetate, and acetone extracts of onion and garlic were evaluated for their antibacterial activity against
15 bacterial strains (6 ATCC strains and 9 clinical isolates) using the broth microdilution method to establish the minimum inhibitory
concentration. The bacteriostatic and bactericidal actions were determined as compared to conventional antibiotics
(streptomycin and chloramphenicol). Fractional Inhibitory Concentration (FIC) was determined to establish any synergistic
interaction between the extracts and antibiotics using a modified checkerboard assay. The observed antibacterial activity might
be justified due to the presence of high concentration of phenolic compounds in the extracts. This study has provided an opportunity
to establish valuable baseline information on the antibiotic potentiating activity of onion and garlic, which can be further
exploited for the treatment and/or management of infectious diseases.
Some research has shown that Lippia pedunculosa Essential Oil (EOLP) has interesting biological activities. However, its
low water solubility is the main challenge in achieving its therapeutic potential . In this context, Cyclodextrins (CDs) have
been widely used in order to overcome this problem due to their capability to improve the physicochemical properties of drugs.
In this perspective, the main goal of the study of Dr. Menezes et al. entitled Physicochemical characterization and antinociceptive
effect of β -cyclodextrin/Lippia pedunculosa essential oil in mice was to investigate how the improvement in the
physicochemical properties of inclusion complexes (EOLP and β-CD) enhances the antinociceptive effect in mice.
We, the Guest-Editors, would like to express our gratitude to the authors who contributed to this special issue, reporting
investigations in various aspects of Perspectives on Infectious Diseases: Progress and Therapeutics.
The discovery that the members within a protein complex are not only found in close proximity but also talking to
each other has expedited development of both experimental and computational techniques, which are used for
studying protein-protein interactions (PPIs). The former provides information regarding the existence of the
interaction and it also helps on the identification of the interaction interface. In spite of emerging roles of PPIs as
novel drug targets for treatment of various crucial diseases over the past decade the field is still far from having a
holistic understanding of the mechanism of interaction. Therefore, experimental techniques should guide and/or
complement computational studies in order to develop efficient therapeutic molecules having higher affinity and
lower side effects. In this special issue, we aim to summarize recent experimental and computational techniques
used for studying PPIs as well as their possible application on selected biological problems of great significance in
an effort to development of novel drugs that target PPIs. Among many others NF-kB, NSP1, MDXM, GPCRS,
CD-40, BAFF-BAFF-L are some of the systems that have been revised.
Cyclic peptides and peptidomimetic molecules (modified peptides) play
critical roles in natural processes, and can also be synthesized for use as research
tools and therapeutics. Protein-Protein Interactions (PPIs) play central
roles in regulating almost all biological processes across organisms and the
central dogma of biology. Compared to small molecules and antibodies, peptides
are advantageous for targeting PPIs because they maintain conformational
flexibility, can be synthesized using relatively straightforward techniques
and are generally less expensive. However, linear peptides are limited
by poor stability and inefficient cell membrane permeability. On the other
hand, cyclic peptides offer improved metabolic stability, bioavailability and
selectivity compared to their linear counterparts; moreover, cyclic peptides are particularly useful for targeting PPIs because
they maintain these enhanced drug-like properties without compromising bioavailability, as often occurs with linear peptides.
Thus, the development of cyclic peptides and peptidomimetics is of great interest in medicinal chemistry, as evidenced by numerous
investigational and approved cyclic peptide pharmaceutical compounds.
This thematic issue is comprised of six strong papers authored by esteemed colleagues renowned for their work in the field
of medicinal chemistry. The overarching topics covered include cyclic peptides in natural and therapeutic settings, the design of
cyclic peptides, several approaches to synthesize cyclic peptides, and examples of cyclic peptides in biological systems. First,
Rubin and Qvit present the first comprehensive review, analysis and critique of backbone-cyclized peptides, discussing their
design, construction, development, and application. To address the construction of backbone-cyclized peptides, Rubin, Tal-
Gan, Gilon, and Qvit subsequently provide a detailed guide for the conversion of protein active regions into peptidomimetic
therapeutic leads – delineating the identification of PPI sites, the definition of bioactive pharmacophores and the use of backbone
cyclization and cycloscan techniques to develop lead compounds.
Next, Perez reviews additional approaches for design of peptidomimetics and discusses their core properties, while comparing
and contrasting the medicinal chemistry and biophysical approaches for discovery and development. Testa, Papini, Chorev
and Rovero extensively discuss approaches to synthesize cyclic peptides and peptidomimetics, including in depth analysis of
the chemistries required to perform ring closing metathesis, lactamization, copper-catalyzed azide alkyne cycloaddition, and
other cyclization reactions. Following this, Hillman, Nadraws and Bertucci delve into stapled peptides and focus on recent advances
in their use for targeting PPIs therapeutically.
Lastly, Mull, Harrington, Sanchez, and Tal-Gan present examples of cyclic peptides in biological systems through an analysis
of cyclic peptide scaffolds in signal transduction pathways across a spectrum of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms as
models for the discovery of novel and broadly applicable therapeutic lead compounds.
It was an honor to compile this timely issue. Thanks to the journal for providing the opportunity for our colleagues and us to
share our perspectives. We hope the readers find this material engaging and useful, and that it will inspire further inquiry and
Cancer metabolism is an emerging area of research that offers an opportunity to target specific
metabolic vulnerabilities of cancer cells. Cancer cells undergo oncogene-mediated metabolic
reprogramming in order to meet their energy demands. Cancer cells adapt to their
microenvironment and rewire their metabolism to rely heavily on anaerobic glycolysis, a
phenomenon known as the ’Warburg effect’. In addition, cancer cells get addicted to glutamine and also
up regulate fatty acid synthesis to support their survival and rapid proliferation. Recently, there has
been a resurgence of interest in targeting carbohydrate, amino acid, and fatty acid metabolic pathways for
treatment of cancer and overcoming drug resistance in chemotherapy. Other emerging concepts include
targeting mitochondrial metabolism for the treatment of cancer. The overarching theme of this issue is to
highlight the current application, advances, and emerging concepts in the field of cancer metabolism and
discuss the prospects of metabolic inhibitors as next generation cancer therapeutics. The issue will also
emphasize medicinal chemistry efforts aimed at developing small molecule inhibitors targeting aberrant
No Text Found
The term "alternative" is employed to describe the test method in association with the principles of
the 3Rs - Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. In accordance with this principle, an alternative
method can be used to replace animal testing, reduce the quantity of animals required for each assay,
or refine an animal testing method to minimize pain and suffering.
There are different platforms available to create alternative methods including in vitro models and
computer-based systems. A few elements may be considered in terms of safety when it comes to the
development of a new drug or biomaterial. First it is important to identify the chemical identity and
the composition, as well as chemical structure, impurities and functional groups, followed by the determination
of the physical chemical properties. As a next step, the kinetics aspects, e.g. absorption,
distribution, metabolism and excretion should be evaluated. The mode and /or mechanism of action or
adverse outcome pathways as well as the chemical and biological interaction must be determined. Finally, the responses found
in alternative assays can lead to a proper safety assessment for drugs and biomaterials without the need for animal experimentation.
Within this context, this thematic issue focused on alternative assays applied to replace animal testing in order to assess the
safety and biological activity of currently available and novel drugs and biomedical devices. The manuscript entitled "Epithelial
organotypic cultures: a viable method to address the mechanisms of carcinogenesis by epitheliotropic viruses" describes the
mechanism of carcinogenesis, a topic that was initially researched mainly in animal models.
In another context, some alternative methods have also been employed in biomaterials, as the authors of “Current Methods
Applied to Biomaterials – Characterization Approaches, Safety Assessment and Biological International Standards” extensively
described. This review shows that using alternative tests for biomaterials has almost replaced animal tests, following an actual
tendency. Finally, the last two manuscripts, “Validation cytotoxicity assay for lipophilic substances” and “Alternative methods
to animal studies for the evaluation of topical/transdermal drug delivery systems” are important both for medicine and cosmetics
formulation, as the authors showed the importance to characterize the lipophilic substances, even a difficult issue in cytotoxicity
assays, and the importance of permeation in cosmetics and medical products.
Overall this special issue has addressed aspects concerning alternative assays applied to replace animal testing in order to
assess the safety and biological activity of currently available and novel drugs and biomedical devices and contain materials
that follow the topics in trends and published worldwide. This issue shows balanced viewpoints of experts contributing to
minimize the use of animal tests, in an attempt to act as a primary reference for industrial, commercial and research perspective
in an extensive field of science.
Head and neck squamous carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common malignant cancer in the world and it is characterized
by a poor prognosis. In fact, the estimated survival rate is 5 years from diagnosis.
The prognosis of the disease is significantly related to the stage in which the disease is diagnosed. Moreover, the therapies
are too invasive and not very efficient, disfiguring and debilitating the survivor’s quality of life which is much compromised.
Nowadays, there is not a reliable and non-invasive method for early diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma and the simple
visual examination of the oral cavity is characterized by low sensitivity and specificity, also because the early stages of oral
carcinogenesis are not associated with clear clinical abnormalities in a significant number of patients.
The current issue of “Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry (CTMC)” is aimed at reviewing the actual knowledge regarding
the HNSCC in order to cover this field with a broad series of papers. The first review was prepared by an Italian team led
by Fatima Ardito, Giovanni Di Gioia, Mario Roberto Pellegrino and Lorenzo Lo Muzio. The authors describe the role of genistein
as a potential anticancer agent against HNSCC. The second contribution is from Linda L. Eastham, Candace M. Howard,
Premalatha Balachandran, David S. Pasco, and Pier Paolo Claudio. In this case, the authors review the role of dietary phytochemicals
as an alternative approach to prevent HNSCC. The third review, led by Riccardo Concu and Maria Natalia Dias-
Soeiro Cordeiro, deals with the role of the Cetuximab in the treatment of HNSCC. The fourth contribution concerns the Aurora
kinase inhibitors in head and neck cancer; this work was prepared by a Chinese-Japanese team led by Guangying Qi, Jing Liu,
Sisi Mi, Takaaki Tsunematsu, Shengjian Jin, Wenhua Shao, Tian Liu, Naozumi Ishimaru, Bo Tang and Yasusei Kudo. Moving
on, Nicola Sgaramella and Karin Nylander review covers the topic of searching for new targets and treatments in the battle
against squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Concu and Cordeiro present an innovative paper dealing with the development
of a new QSAR model aimed at the identification of new inhibitors for the epidermal growth factor receptor. Finally,
Ardito et al. present a new in vitro study of the inhibition activity of the curcumin against squamous cell carcinoma of tongue.